I did arrive home on Thursday as scheduled, having had a wonderful time at my nerd convention.
A lot has happened.
Michael Jackson, RIP. Farrah ditto. (A lot of people are kind of struggling with the MJ thing. I've seen too many instances of false accusations to assume that he was guilty of anything other than extreme eccentricity.)
And then two interesting SC cases have wound up. The girl who was strip-searched b/c another girl reported that she had A SINGLE IBUPROFEN TABLET (OH THE HUMANITY) in her underwear was vindicated. And the city of New Haven had it expressed to them that when you have a procedure you can't abandon it when you discover that only white people will benefit, esp. when no one can find any evidence that the procedure actually discriminated against anyone.
I'm kind of tired of the word "privilege" because it assumes a fairytale existence whenever somebody comes out on top. Sometimes they had an unfair advantage and the word is apt; and sometimes they didn't. It's the assumption that I object to.
Ricci is a New Haven firefighter stationed seven blocks from where Sotomayor went to law school (Yale). Raised in blue-collar Wallingford, Conn., Ricci struggled as a C and D student in public schools ill-prepared to address his serious learning disabilities. Nonetheless he persevered, becoming a junior firefighter and Connecticut's youngest certified EMT.
After studying fire science at a community college, he became a New Haven "truckie," the guy who puts up ladders and breaks holes in burning buildings. When his department announced exams for promotions, he spent $1,000 on books, quit his second job so he could study eight to 13 hours a day, and, because of his dyslexia, hired someone to read him the material.
He placed sixth on the lieutenant's exam, which qualified him for promotion. Except that the exams were thrown out by the city, and all promotions denied, because no blacks had scored high enough to be promoted.
Yes, I've seen the outcome of this case referred to as another example of white privilege. I suppose it's a privilege to have the guts to confront your disadvantage head-on and plow past it, but that is not a privilege confined to white folks, as we have repeatedly seen.
I wonder how many of the black folks who didn't do so well on this exam would have done better if they had not made the correct assumption that it didn't matter b/c the city would not let those jobs go to white folks. If they'd known from the outset that they really would have to compete, would they have shown the drive and determination that Ricci did? We will never know.